Monday, October 31, 2011

Health Spending and the "Supercommittee"

Less than a month remains before the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, popularly known as the Supercommittee, must submit a bill to Congress that will cut the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion in ten years. By design, everything is on the table.

While the Supercommittee is unlikely to achieve substantial cuts in federal health spending, it has the opportunity to take a historic step in uniting both Republicans and Democrats in reform that give Medicare (and, indirectly, Medicaid) patients, more control of their own health dollars.

Where do we find the room for compromise? Remarkably, it lies in President Obama's deficit-reduction proposal.  Don't believe me? Read more in October's Health Policy Prescription.

Virginia Attorney-General Cuccinelli on Medical Malpractice

In a compelling op-ed in the Washington Post, Virginia Attorney-General Ken Cuccinelli has challenged Republican U.S. Senators who have introduced a federal bill to limit medical-malpractice liability.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

955 Pages of Rules to "Eliminate" Excessive Federal Health Regulations

I kid you not.  The U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, has announced that "It’s time to cut the red tape.  Our new proposals eliminate unnecessary and obsolete standards and free up resources so hospitals and doctors can focus on treating patients.”

And they've done this by issuing six new regulatory documents, ranging in length from just five pages up to 696 pages.  The total number of pages in all six documents? 955!

If this is what reducing red tape looks like, I'd hate to see what they do when they decide they need more regulatory wrapping.

U.S. Senator David Vitter Must Decide Which Side of Big-Government Health Care He's On

Earlier this month, U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) ostentatiously accepted a petition with over 1.6 million signatures demanding the repeal of Obamacare. Good for him. But Senator Vitter is inconsistent in his response to big government in health care. When it comes to prescription drugs, he has frequently proposed legislation that expands the power of the federal government in questionable and irresponsible ways.

Read the entire column at National Review Online.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CLASS Act: An $86 Billion Puzzle

In a late Friday “data dump,” the U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, announced that the long-term-care program established under ObamaCare, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, would not come into effect.

This humiliating reversal was expected. Late September, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services turned the lights out at the CLASS offices and reassigned the staff. It has long been understood that CLASS was impossible.

Read the entire article at John Goodman's Health Policy Blog.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Radio Interview on Collapse of CLASS Long-Term-Care Program

Here is the audio of a conversation I had with Mark Carbonero of KION-AM in Monterey County, California.

Prostate Cancer, Mammography, & Avastin: How to Choose?

There is a flurry of reactions to a draft recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Although not formally released, the USPSTF is now recommending against PSA tests for prostate cancer. The American Urological Association, on the other hand, continues to assert that the PSA test is appropriate preventive care. (Ann McDonald of Harvard Medical School’s publishing arm has a nice summary of the reaction to the news.) The USPSTF previously sparked controversy in 2009, when it bumped up the recommended age for mammography from 40 to 50 years of age.

What type of health system would best respond to constantly evolving information like this?

Read the entire column at John Goodman's Health Policy Blog.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Radio Interview with My Technology Lawyer

I return to the My Technology Lawyer radio show on October 13 at 1 p.m. PDT/4 p.m. EDT.  The show is broadcast live on the Internet and archived, too.  Please follow this link to listen.

Topics include: Health reform and prices of health stocks, the forthcoming Supreme Court hearing on Obamacare, Obamacare's state-based exchanges, and alternative reforms once Obamacare is repealed.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What's Next? Mitt Romney As A Space Lizard Commanding An Alien Fleet?

If your ears can handle the explosions, please have a look at Rick Perry's latest ad opposing Romneycare.  By the end of it, I half expected Mitt Romney to peel off his human skin and stand revealed as a space lizard commanding the alien invasion of our mother planet.  Let's hope that this ear-splitting ad motivates some people to investigate substantive criticism of Romneycare.